The autumn crows, fat with pilfered corn, clotted the sky and descended on the fields in clouds of black feathers. Squinting against the sun’s glare, I could just make out the scarecrow’s silhouette. His hat was gone.
I looked away, pressing my face into my scarf, trying to ignore the pungency of rotting apples and fresh horse manure. I started back towards the dilapidated barn, passing the apple tree, its untrimmed branches dragging in the dirt, surrounded by fallen fruit.
The barn door creaked open at my touch. A saw leaned up against the nearest wall, its wooden handle blackened with the oils of my grandfather’s skin. Dusty mason jars, old paint cans, and boxes of nails cluttered the shelves. Newspaper scraps and broken glass crunched underfoot. In the center of the building, the skeletons of plows and mulch tillers, of harrows and seed planters, rose up and out of the dusty earth. The corroded metal frames reached out, pressing forward to snag at my sweater, to brush against life.
If I pricked my finger on the harrow’s sharp edges and let the the blood stain the hay bales, would the farm wake from its slumber? No. That was backwards.
Outside, the crows gorged themselves with corn. In my mind, I stuffed the birds with buckshot.